Tag Archives: Presidential Debates

“What the Debates Say About America” and How I Respond as an American

Dallas Caldwell, one of our contributors at the Red Dirt Chronicles, is my former boss. I was attending grad school when he accepted a position as the new headmaster where I was teaching. I always appreciated his ability to tell a story, but years later gained an appreciation for his ability to write and share his thoughts.

That’s why, when he writes about literature or something philosophical, I generally check it out. And tonight, I’m glad I did.

Dallas was sharing information on his Facebook about a post written by Kevin DeYoung over the presidential debates.  The quote was the full text of point number six from DeYoung’s analysis over the “13,000 Republican debates” and the public’s reaction to them.

He writes about the communication factor, the “horse race style” coverage, what American’s value in their candidates…but then negate, why negative attacks are vilified but work, the sin and values we’re willing to tolerate, and…our inconsistencies:

6. The debates over the past months, and the election in general, exposes a number of inconsistencies about Americans.

  • We want to be rich and want politicians who will promise to make us richer. But we don’t like our politicians themselves to be wealthy.
  • We want candidates to give straight answers and not dodge hard questions. But when they give specific answers to hard questions their answers will be ridiculed as dull or will be held against them.
  • We want our leaders to be super confident, super competent, and super intelligent. But we hate elites.
  • We want the president to be one of us and above us and unlike us at the same time.
  • We want someone to be an effective executive in the labyrinth of legislative, judicial, bureaucratic, military, and diplomatic tasks that face the modern President. But we also want him to be a complete outsider with no experience in how any of that works.
  • We want politicians unsullied by the real life tradeoffs, lobbyists, and interest groups of politics. But what they are like in the rest of life doesn’t really concern us. They can compromise in everything but politics.

As I worked down the bullet points a knot began to form in my stomach, then tighten, then wrench at my psyche – tugging as though it were in a man-of-war game for the core of how I consider information during a presidential campaign.

Yes, yes, yes. Check, check…cripes. Check again.

I finished the list, then did the only thing I knew to do.  I processed.  I processed this information that provided a moment of introspection by thinking it over a couple of times, sharing it with my husband and then? Sharing it with you.

Good luck with that.

Mitt Romney’s Debate Conduct Makes Me Feel Icky

Republican ElephantAbout six weeks ago I took an online poll that supposedly matched the “Republican candidate closest to my views.” My primary match was John Huntsman and my second place match was Ron Paul.

So, I checked out how they were doing in the polls. Depending upon what source you check, Paul ranges from second to fourth, and Huntsman is dead last of the candidates the pollsters are still bothering to track.


In 2008, I wanted either Hillary Clinton or John McCain to win. I didn’t care which one, because they were fairly closely aligned on most of the big issues and had once had a vodka drinking contest with each other. Although rumor has it that Hillary won, supposedly the rules were fuzzy.  Either way, I’m more of a centrist. An independent.

Or, another way to put it would be, “someone who will likely never get to see her favorite candidate elected to the post of U.S. President.”

My undergradate degree is in Communications Education. And, about fifteen years ago I jumped through all the hoops it takes to get a teaching certificate.  That means that the Board of Education of Oklahoma now believes I have the minimum qualifications to teach speech, drama and debate classes in public high schools.

Ahhh, de-BATE.

I’m a Cross-Ex junkie, a pollster wanna-always-know-bie, and if you ever catch me judging a truly gifted set of LIncoln-Douglas high school debaters, I won’t be writing notes.  I’ll be watching them, thinking about Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln and floating slightly above my chair with the romantic notion that the United States democracy could be in the hands of those before me within the next decade. And THEY will formalize the debate process.

I love a good debate.  A good real debate.

But I hate presidential candidate debates.  Well, I can tolerate those moderated by Jim Lehrer, but otherwise…I hate them.

I honestly wish debate forums would draft rules to allow presidential candidates to bring in notes, or even computers from which to draw talking points.  I wish they were genuinely regulated the events with time, responses, and scorers. And, I wish that if one of the candidates entered “evidence” into a response, another candidate could feasibly “negate the evidence” by matching each point with better or stronger information.

And now, I’ll leave Non-Reality Land.

So, given my premise of disclosing my political leanings, and hearing the planks of my education and my desires for debate reform, I shall now wrap up this appeal to your better senses by sharing you with my astute New Hampshire Republican Candidate Debate analysis.

Mitt Romney, your conduct in debates makes me feel icky.

John Huntsman, your conduct in debates is admirable.

Newt Gingrich, I want you to guest lecture in my class.  My Policy, Law and Advocacy class…NOT my Human Sexuality class. Continue reading Mitt Romney’s Debate Conduct Makes Me Feel Icky